True to Villanova Law’s values, our students and alumni utilize their skills to advance the greater good. Recent graduates Mark Wilhelm ’15 and Abel Garza ’16 are making pro bono work a priority as they launch their respective careers in Big Law.
Both associates at Pepper Hamilton LLP, Wilhelm and Garza are fighting for the rights of tenants who lack attorney representation through pro bono work with Philadelphia VIP, a nonprofit organization that provides legal services for low-income residents and families facing legal problems that threaten their basic human needs—shelter, employment, financial stability, education and health.
Wilhelm and Garza jumped into landlord-tenant work when they learned that the City of Philadelphia was overwhelmed with underrepresented tenants. A recent study indicates that one in seven Philadelphia renters faced an eviction case in 2015, and over 90% of tenants confront these cases without an attorney.
Wilhelm works in Pepper Hamilton's Corporate and Securities Practice Group, specializing in mergers and acquisitions and securities offerings and compliance. "In corporate law, attorneys primarily spend their time in the office. But growing up, I always thought of attorneys as being 'in the courtroom.' Volunteering with VIP helps me fulfill that vision."